Chicago Nerd Therapy

Guided meditation with Gandalf to create a life of deep meaning.

I know what it’s like…life feels sort of directionless. You look around and see your friends who seem to have things figured out. You’re not sure where you’re going, but you’re pretty sure you’re not happy where you are.

In response to this problem, therapists have a technique called “The Miracle Question.” This exercise helps guide decisions about the life we'd like to live in a sort of "reverse engineering" process.

Additionally, contemplative meditation has been used for hundreds of years to help people gain deeper insight into themselves and their desires. Here, we have the chance to combine two time-tested and effective techniques, for your benefit.

Imagine that Gandalf has come to visit and he weaves a mighty spell so that you can see that a miracle has happened and your life is precisely how you want it. Every detail is perfect. Now describe it in as much detail as possible.

Can you imagine sitting down with the great wizard, Gandalf? That mage of limitless knowledge and centuries of wisdom. One with such a mind would have a unique perspective and certainly certain magical tricks to help you come to some important decisions. Can you imagine listening to him as he weighs in on your situation? As he helps you access deep answers?

When you feel stuck or uncertain, Gandalf might encourage us to visualize the end first and work backward.

Visit the blog over at for a guided meditation to explore these questions in more depth.

Don't forget to follow @ChicagoNerdTherapy for more geek and mental health content.

PLAY Therapy

How would you like to take just a couple of minutes to learn practical mental health concepts while simply pushing “PLAY” and enjoying some of your favorite scenes from movies and television?

In his ‘PlayTherapy’ series licensed therapist Michael D. Nelson, CHMC geeks out about movies and television *while* dropping little therapy thoughts into your day. These short—but powerful—therapy principles are embedded in the stories, imagery, and characters of our favorite stories, fandoms, movies and television shows.

If you are interested in perusing this growing library of free therapy-related videos you can click here to access the PlayTherapy playlist on YouTube.

While there hit the SUBSCRIBE button so you never miss an episode! Subscribing ensures you will have little therapy thoughts popping up in your feed to help you upskill that sense of wellness in your life.

Some of the topics you will find there are:

  1. “Could I Have Some Hidden Trauma?” (Taught by Marlin in Finding Nemo)

  2. “How to Stop Unhelpful Rumination” (Taught by Ted Lasso)

  3. “How to Respond with Empathy to Someone Who is Hurting” (Taught by Sadness in Inside Out)

  4. “Why People-Pleasing Can Be Harmful” (Taught by Ella Enchanted)

  5. “Why I Avoid Certain People, Places, Situations” (As illustrated in WandaVision)

  6. “How Shame Triggers Affect our Life” (As illustrated by Gremlins)

  7. “How Kind Self-Talk Strengthens Us” (Taught by Charles Xavier from X-men)

….and More!

In his latest episode Michael uses the iconic movie “The Matrix” to introduce us to the skill of MINDFULNESS, and just as Neo’s increased awareness within the Matrix helps him move into greater freedom and power—we too have latent mental abilities that we can train and use like our own “super-powers”.

To learn more about Michael as a Therapist you can head over to his website or follow him on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.

Victims & Villains

Victims and Villains is a multi-media platform composed of collaborators from all walks of life and experiences. They analyze pop culture in all of its many genres and art styles, diving into how it relates to mental health. They publish content that not only entertains and dissects media in all its different forms, but also confront topics and themes of mental health and suicide prevention.

Their main goal is to remind people that they are valued and have worth despite the challenges they face. Their website and mentioned throughout our various platforms, provide a vast network of support via suicide education and prevention resources. In everything that they do, they highlight the silver lining and remind people that there is always a way to not only survive but to thrive. They are passionate about helping those in need and aim to provide a healthy entertainment environment for everyone.

On their website ( you can find our podcasts, articles, reviews, and mental health resources.

Talk nerd! Talk hope! Speak nothing else!

Emotional Milestones

As a preschool play therapist and social-emotional coach/consultant, Amy Nelson helps early childhood professionals learn to LEAN IN, developing the knowledge and strategies to better support neurodiversity and inclusion in the classroom.

Recently, Amy received an S.O.S from a preschool classroom serving children 3-5 years old with a unique combination of students with competing arousal levels, sensory needs, and developmental disabilities.

Despite their differences, many of the students processed visual input well and seemed to share a common interest – TRANSFORMERS!!!!

So, Amy ‘LEANED IN’ created a video social story series with live-action social modeling to promote safety, teach routines, and grow social-emotional skills.

Social stories, a concept developed by Carol Gray in 1991, are individualized short stories that depict social situations that a child may encounter and helps them learn new skills and ideas.

The video focuses on:

  1. The daily schedule

  2. The end of day routine

  3. Embedded SEL: turn-taking, shared use of space/materials, and coping skills

  4. Using the Transformer regulation stations (classroom calming space)

Transformers yoga poses are used to transition individually from carpet to cubby (increase body awareness, impulse control, reduce wait time).

Transformer space markers used for line up boundaries (increase body awareness, impulse control, decrease sensory overwhelm, support autonomy, reduce anxiety).

Transformer 'tickets' held during challenging transition periods that involved transition out the classroom and a 'Bumblebee' chant to help students together (support tactile sensory needs, reduce anxiety, promotes consistency).

With immediate success, the classroom teachers adopted this theme, embedding it into daily practices. Transformer visual cues were used to aid in self-regulation during challenging transitions [times of high conflict, high arousal].

“I am lucky to work with dedicated teachers who could see beyond these behavior challenges and recognize that we could ‘lean in’ to help TRANSFORM this classroom.”

To learn more about Amy’s work you can head over to her website or follow her on Facebook.

Check out the video here:

Original Source for the videos:

Bee Prepared S1.E45

Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy

Director: Peter Slattery

Writer: Nathan Cockerill


Autobots Travel the Multiverse! S3.E14

Transformer Cyberverse

Director: Ehud Landsberg

Nerd Therapist

The temptation to perform compulsions in OCD can be very strong, in some cases triggering severe emotional dysregulation. The fear of leaning into uncertainty and the unknown is real and palpable.

Just like Frodo, we may be tempted to put on the one ring (i.e. perform a compulsion) Luckily, we know that cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD consists of a tried and true method - exposure therapy or Exposure and Response Prevention - also referred to as ERP.

The temptation to avoid experiences, dip into the shadows can be strong. Like Samwise Gamgee you too can resist the temptation of the ring. Try delaying your compulsion by just a minute, or two. That is a step in the right direction.

Reframe and Re-enchant your life by telling yourself "I can do difficult things, especially for a short period of time" and look at each temptation as an opportunity for growth.

Check out @nerd_therapist and his website to learn more about nerd therapy :)